Recently I read Built to Sell by John Warrillow. It had been recommended to me by several remodeling contractors who I know and respect.

The book is laid out as the story of a business owner figuring out what he wants from his business and how his approach to business needs to change so he can achieve that. Alex, the business owner, has a series of conversations with his mentor Ted, which help Alex move forward in his journey.

Avoiding Distraction

One of the points made by Ted is that a businessperson does not succeed by doing everything clients ask his company to do. Being all things to all people is a recipe for disaster.

An example of this in the world of remodeling would be: Having clients call to ask if you can do repair work or very small jobs when there is no system to handle those projects profitability because the company’s real forte is large remodeling projects.

What does a remodeling company owner typically think when such a call comes in and the current workload is light? “I have to keep my people busy so …”

By falling into that trap, the business is now distracted from doing what needs to be done to get the type of project that it is “built” to do well.

Know Your Strengths

What does your company do well? What is your system for doing those projects? What can you do to get more such projects?

These questions can lead you and your company to further solid success. Part of that journey is starting to tell potential clients who don’t want such projects done that you are not a fit for their needs.

Hard to do for the typical pleaser that most remodelers (including me early in the life of our company!) are, but it is the only way to build a business that will ultimately be as successful as you dream you want it to be.

How do you figure out what your company does best? Set aside time to reflect on that. Ask your employees. Ask your best clients and trade contractors.

Look for the patterns. It is not that hard to do, and simply by asking those folks I bet you will get more of the projects you do best!

Paul Winans, a veteran remodeler, now works as a facilitator for Remodelers Advantage, and as a consultant to remodeling business owners. Contact him at